Sarah Lawrence-AVI Fresh Petition sign now

Petition To the Management of AVI Foodservices, Inc. Concerning Mistreatment of Food Service Workers at Sarah Lawrence College

Background Information:

We the undersigned members of the Sarah Lawrence College community are deeply concerned about the treatment of the food service employees since AVI Foodservices, Inc (AVI Fresh) took over the management of the dining facilities on our campus. Since this takeover and the reopening of foodservice facilities in September, 2009, there have been widespread and well documented complaints of harassment and mistreatment of workers.

The complaints include the following:

1. frequent changes in work assignment, understaffing, lack of training and managerial support for new assignments in combination with disciplinary monitoring and threats against employees for poor performance in tasks for which they lack proper training;

2. regular altering of work shifts and a lack of willingness to respect established work schedules or accommodate employees schedules and commitments;

3. practices that make work especially difficult or burdensome (e.g. requiring the same employee to be in different parts of the campus or different stations at Bates in rapid succession, unrealistic and overwhelming work assignments, unwillingness to allow employees to sit who are required to be at a single station for long periods of time);

4. an informal prohibition on speaking Spanish while at work;

5. regulating and monitoring bathroom breaks;

6. no receipts for time-clock punch-in and punch-out so that employees are unable to keep an independent record of their hours worked.

7. use of abusive and insulting language directed at employees, including racial epithets.

In addition to these general features of the on-going work climate, when AVI Foodservices, Inc., took over at Sarah Lawrence, although they were not legally required to, they demanded documentation of citizenship and/or immigration status for all workers. As a result, a substantial number of the existing food service staff were not rehired, undermining AVIs pledge to rehire all the previous contractors food service employees and to respect their seniority.

Finally, AVI was slow to accept the employees preferred form of union vote, and is only now, nearly half a year into their term at the College, beginning to negotiate a contract with the workers.

Sarah Lawrence College is a small community that prides itself for, among other things, the humanity, respect and decency with which all members treat each other and for a long-standing commitment to social justice. Some of the workers who have been mistreated and harassed by AVI management have worked at the College for decades, preparing food for and serving generations of students, staff and faculty. We are both outraged and ashamed that our workers are being treated with so little respect, decency or fairness.


Action Sought:

We demand that AVI Foodservices, Inc., offer the Sarah Lawrence College food service workers an acceptable employment contract no later than the end of this calendar year. Additionally we demand that the above mentioned practices of mistreatment and harassment (items 1-7) cease immediately and that concrete steps be taken to secure respectful, decent and fair treatment of their workers for as long as AVI holds the food service contract at Sarah Lawrence College.

We invite representatives of AVI management to meet with representatives of the Sarah Lawrence student body, staff and faculty in the last week of January to report on the steps they have taken to remedy this egregious situation.

In the absence of concrete progress in meeting these demands, we the undersigned will boycott AVI Fresh food services until we are satisfied that real progress has been made.

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Information

Brett CordovaBy:
Entertainment and MediaIn:
Petition target:
AVI Foodservices, Inc

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